Sinai and the Holy Land 1

לשכנו תדרשו

Seeking the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land


וידבר ה’ אל משה בהר סיני לאמר… כי תבאו אל הארץ…ושבתה הארץ שבת לה


“Remember the love of the Ancient Ones, and revive those in slumber, and hasten the days when the Son Of Jesse lives…”

This line, in the Shabbos song ‘Tzama Nafshi’, seems almost to evoke the different locations of Hebron. ‘The Ancient Ones’ refers to the Patriarchs in Maaras HaMachpela whose love is remembered by HaShem as mentioned in the first blessing of the Amida. ‘Reviving those in slumber’ refers to the revivified Jewish community in Hebron, and the ‘Son of Jesse’ refers to the tomb of Jesse in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron.

Similarly, in this week’s parsha we can find hints to Hebron. According to ‘Shaar HaHatzer’ (by R. David ben Shimon zt’l), the term ‘Sinai’ hints to Hebron, for when spelled out (samech=120, yod=20, nun=106, yod=20) it has the same numerical value as ‘Hebron’ (this is a well-accepted method of gematriya among the Sages). ‘Shaar Hahatzer’ continues by saying that this indicates that just as Israel were entirely purified at Mount Sinai so too one who learns Torah for its sake in Hebron is purified, adding also that even one idle in Hebron is considered as if learning Torah (which was given from Sinai). Indeed, the Zohar too points at the high Torah level in Hebron when it states: “Hebron refers to Torah, for one who studies it is called a ‘haber’ (a member of the class of Torah-scholars)”.

Our Sages ask on our title quote, ‘why is Shemita mentioned in context of Mount Sinai, alast all the commandments were mentioned at Sinai? They answer that the Torah wants to teach us that just as Shemita’s laws, both in general and in detail, were delivered at Sinai, so too all laws of the Torah were delivered at Sinai not only in general but also in detail. Rashi explains that we would expect the details of Shmita to be mentioned in the ‘Plains of Moab’ at the end of the 40 years in the Wilderness before entering the Land, but the fact that these details are not mentioned then in the book of Dvarim but rather here at Sinai highlights that in truth all the details of the Torah were already mentioned at Sinai.

We may ask the question: why is Shemita, of all the mitzot singled out to highlight this principle? Of all the places in the Diaspora, Mount Sinai strikes out as the holiest place ever. It seems that the Torah wants to teach us that even at this holiest site in the Diaspora, HaShem delivered to Moshe and Israel that the Torah’s aspiration of holiness of location is ultimately in the Land of Israel, as is highlighted the most by the mitzvoth of Shmita and Yovel, giving the Land a status similar to that of the holy Shabbos.

In this way, we gain even more meaning in the fore-mentioned connection made between Sinai and Hebron. Hebron, as we have shown many times before, represents the age-old connection of our People to the Land of Israel. Even at Sinai, or especially at Sinai, the Torah wishes to teach us that our Holy Land is integrally connected (-mehubar-Hebron) to our People and to the Torah in general.




Real Stories from the Holy Land #69: 

“One day, we decided to give away a number of our clothes to the second-hand thrift shop in Kiryat Arba. Shortly after, we were suddenly offered clothes excellent for us.” 



Sources: Shaar Hahatzer 380, Zohar Shlah, Sifra Behar 1, 1


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